Friday, November 12, 2010

Free trade + high costs of production = disaster

Obama, much like a chicken missing its head, is strutting around Asia and now at the G20 conference trying to convince other countries to send jobs to America or to convince China to boost the value of its currency to its detriment.

How effective has that been?  Not at all.  Why not?  Because most world leaders are not as gullible and as ignorant about world economics as Obama and his staff of socialists appear to be.

Here is the situation:

The US (including government and corporate leaders) for years has been promoting “free trade”, believing that the US is invincibly productive and we will “kick butt” in the world’s marketplace as we import cheaper products from other countries for our consumers.  Sounds great; a double win, right?

Over the same period, we have acquired a Ruth's Christ Steak House taste for environmentalism and union labor perks when we can only afford McDonald’s to remain competitive with world markets.  Our environmentalism, with really questionable and unsubstantiated cost/benefits, has cost our industries billions to implement and comply.  And Congress keeps spitting out the regulations, prompted by eco-terrorists, oblivious to their negative consequences.  Expensive perks built into labor union contracts and government insistence on motivation-wrecking minimum wages and unemployment compensation in most of our work places have been unsustainable.

These two factors, our out of control and unsustainable environmentalism, and our out of control and unsustainable union perks have increased the cost of production and the price of our products to the point where we are not competitive in world markets.

Is there any wonder why our manufacturing base has plummeted, why so many of our former jobs are now overseas, and why our unemployment rate is so high?  We have gotten excessively clean, pampered, and greedy.  Take a look at this video of a new Ford plant in Brazil, and note the last 15 seconds worth of comment, “…if only the UAW would allow it…”

Several European countries are a few years ahead of us in demonstrating their excesses.  Greece and Ireland are notable examples.  Greece had to impose drastic cutbacks government employee compensation triggering riots by angry workers. The European Union bailed them out.  Ireland is near insolvency and will soon be looking to the EU for a bailout.  Great Britain found it necessary to drastically increase college tuitions that used to be free a few years ago.  The result was destructive student riots.

The US has no one to bail us out.  But unless we stop our foolishly excessive environmentalism and reverse our uncompetitive worker expectations and demands, we will be on the losing end of the free trade stick.

How do we expect to compete in world markets when other nations produce things we used to make for half the price due to lower labor costs and non-existent environmental costs?   We can’t and we aren’t.

Perhaps we need to cut back on our free trade binge until we can get our costs of production somewhere close to competitive with world markets.  Bring jobs back home.  Trade war?  We’re in one now.  Is a monetary war any better?  Are the results much different?  Sure, if we brings jobs back here, some consumer items will be more expensive for awhile – our costs of production are high.  But the consequences of this will be more apparent motivating companies and our policy makes to reduce excessive costs and regulations.  At least more people would have jobs to pay for them.  When anyone proposes a plan to cut government costs and balance the federal budget, most Americans sound like a bunch of squealing pigs at supper time.  The squeals in response to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform report is a perfect example.

The benefits of bringing jobs back to America will likely be more long lasting and beneficial than printing a trillion dollars of valueless money (quantitative easing – sounds relaxing, doesn’t it?).  The more accurate title is “devaluing the dollar.”  This will cost each of us 20% more dollars, on average, to buy anything.  It’s another way of increasing the price of everything while we STILL lose jobs to overseas.  Or, more likely, while we collapse our entire economy because we insist on ignoring the reality of the root causes of our failures, with the dollar losing credibility around the globe.  Worse, the credibility of this country is falling even faster than the dollar.

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